Real Madrid Tops Liverpool on Aggregate, Advances to UCL Semifinal vs. Chelsea

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2021

AP Photo/Jon Super

Carrying a two-goal advantage into the second leg of its Champions League quarterfinal against Liverpool, all Real Madrid needed to do Wednesday was hold on for dear life.

It did that and...not much else.

Los Blancos employed a conservative strategy to force a 0-0 draw against Liverpool on Wednesday and advance to the semifinals on a 3-1 aggregate.

Liverpool held possession for 56 percent of the match and took 14 shots compared to just six for Real Madrid. However, Madrid's loaded box made it nearly impossible for Liverpool to get a good shot on goal, and it finished with just three chances. 

Madrid moves on to play Chelsea, which took a similar tact in its second leg Tuesday against Porto. This will be just the fourth time Chelsea and Real Madrid have played in non-exhibition international competition, with the most recent meeting coming at the 1998 UEFA Super Cup.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said the uniqueness of the matchup had him rooting for Madrid. 

"In general I like not to play against teams from your same league in the Champions League as it gives more of a feeling of a European competition but that is the only thing," Tuchel told reporters Tuesday. "The game is far from over but I will watch it for sure. Everything is possible. Liverpool are very strong at home so we take what we get. It is a good situation for us."

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Madrid is making its first UCL semifinal appearance since 2018, the year it won its third straight title in the competition of Europe's top teams. It had reached at least the semifinals in eight straight seasons before being eliminated early in 2019 and 2020.

Despite an exhausting schedule, the club has managed to keep its composure and winning ways. Manager Zinedine Zidane said his team needed rest after Saturday's Clasico win over FC Barcelona.

"We need rest," Zidane said, per Graham Hunter of ESPN. "The last two matches have been really hard work. "I really don't know in what state we are going to be towards the end of this season because, physically, we are teetering on our absolute limits."

There won't be much rest moving forward for Madrid or Chelsea. Both teams will have three matches between now and their April 27 or 28 semifinal first leg.